In personal or business interactions, trust is a critical virtue. It may take years to build trust in people, but it only takes a second to destroy it. That said, if you have hopes of becoming a trusted advisor, you need to be mindful of the things which can jeopardize trust. Below are some of the things you should consider practicing to maintain trust with your clients:
Do you remember in the movie Miracle on 34th Street how the competition of Macy’s were shocked to learn that Macy’s was actually recommending department stores other than their own to make purchases? As a result, they had a leg up on becoming a trusted advisor to their customers and rapidly became the top store people wanted to shop at.
It should be the same in your own business. By putting your clients’ interests before your own and giving the pros and cons of the alternatives as well as the best actions to take, you become a company they can rely on. That trust is gold!
Though much of your work is to talk and give advice, sometimes you might be required to just give a listening ear to your clients. Allow them to empty their hearts to you without interrupting or degrading their views. You may find their ideas are better than yours. Similarly, others might just need empathy and compassion. Whatever the case, just listen when they need you to.
Becoming a trusted advisor is all about underpromising and overdelivering. Exceeding client expectations is a great way to build rapport. This means things like answering questions, helping with product installations, giving helpful advice, and more even when you’re not being paid to do so.
Showing appreciation is one of the easiest steps in becoming a trusted advisor. People want to feel like they matter to a company, and not like they are just a line item on a budget sheet. Simple actions like a friendly phone call to check in, or a meeting face-to-face to see if they have any additional needs can go a long way in gaining and keeping trust.
Becoming a trusted advisor won’t happen overnight. It takes time. You must be patient and allow them to grow confidence in you first. Only then will they be willing to make more purchases and become loyal customers and brand advocates for your company.
It won’t always be easy but becoming a trusted advisor will always be worth it. Remember, put your clients first, listen carefully, over-deliver, show appreciation, and take your time. Building up these relationships will pay for themselves eventually. You’ll enjoy massive returns on your investment before you know it.
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